By Brian Roe, Sports Writer
Sing Song? The ACU men’s tennis team has other plans this weekend. The schedule calls for a home match against … the ACU Wildcats?
Head coach Hutton Jones scheduled the Eager Inaugural Intrasquad match for this Saturday. The team does not play against another university until March 1, but the match is still of importance.
“An intrasquad match can mean something if some of the guys are playing for a spot in the lineup,” Jones said. “This match could have some say on who will play in the spring break matches.”
Jones said by the men playing their own teammates it would create a kind of pressure that is only evident during a match that counts.
“I just want to create a situation where we get some match play in,” Jones said. “Sometimes it is tougher to play against a teammate, especially if you are playing for a lineup spot. Even if it’s a little tough, we have to get used to the pressure. It means something if these guys are competing for a spot in the lineup. That’s pressure.”
Speaking of pressure, Jones said his top men’s player, Julien Curatella, has been handling the pressure of being the number one in the lineup. Curatella, who was injured most of the fall, has played some tight matches against players and schools who are considered superior.
“Julien is the best tennis player that has ever played at Abilene Christian,” said Jones, “and I have seen players come through here for over 20 years. His work ethic, his love of the game, his dedication and his drive to be the best are all contributors to handling pressure in a match situation.”
The team’s next match will be on March 1 against a team yet to be announced. Likely the opponent will be a local school like Hardin-Simmons or McMurry. The men have four matches scheduled over spring break, including two matches against Division II rivals Incarnate Word and St. Edwards.
“We have some big matches over spring break,” Jones said. “Even a match or two against some rival teams. I have some tough decisions to make on who will play during those matches and after that. It’s going to be fun.”